I was getting ready for bed when my best friend text me asking if I could meet him at his apartment. He would be moving out the next day so I figured I could make the sacrifice. How could I pass up a late night buddy call?
When I arrived he surprised me with a farewell gift. A Star Wars coffee mug. The kind gesture only solidified the reality that my friend would no longer be a short drive away. Times were changing. And once again we had no idea what was going to happen next.
We sat outside his basement apartment at the top of a mountain overlooking the Chattanooga valley. I listened quietly as he shared the latest details in his job search. His lack of success meant he would have to move back in with his parents. A hard pill to swallow for anyone in their twenties.
I could relate to his situation. My current job is a one-year contract position ending in August. I have been sending out my resume and applying for jobs since January without much success. What has made it even harder is the idea that this is not supposed to be happening, especially for a Christian.
As a Christian we almost expect everything to be perfect. And when life fails to go as we had planned we ask God for an explanation. We ask Him to address the uncertainty. After all, each us has dreams for our life. Goals we hope to accomplish. Expectations that must be met.
You know the ones: make mom and dad proud. Get into college. Choose the right major. Get the perfect job. Find love. Have a family, a dog, and a Netflix subscription. Retire rich and happy. We should not be having difficulty finding a job in our field of study, or having to moving back home.
The challenges we all face remind me of Genesis 2, where Adam and Eve begin their life in a place of innocence. The Bible says they were naked and not ashamed in their corner of paradise. It is really not all that different from how our life starts out.
You see, in my mind our childhood is like a dream. A collection of scenes from the good old days. Clips of when we ran around half-dressed playing make believe. Popsicle stains smeared across our face as we sat in the grass. Hiding in our cave-like pillow forts defending the earth from alien invaders, with bedtime stories to close the day. It was paradise.
As we got older, the dream began to crumble. We reached for our forbidden fruit which awoke us from our sleep. Paradise was lost. Now, we stumble around in our sleepyhead state; fighting to maintain the dream. We long to return to the days where life was simpler.
The difficulties of adulthood have us carrying our burdens of regret, disappointment, mistakes, and suffering. Some days life is sweet while others feel like a nightmare. But in Philippians 4:6 (NLT), Paul says, “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.”
Sitting with my friend at the top of the world was not as depressing as you might think it was. Yes, there was disappointment. Yes, there was frustration. But at the end of it we left feeling at peace. I told him how one day we would look back on this moment and laugh, for everything will have worked out in the end.
The fact that our dreams have not come true should not be discouraging. Life is always changing. It never stays the same. Each of us has hurdles we must jump through, but we do not have to be defeated by our hardships. All we can do is plan, persevere, and pray. Even a bad day cannot keep us from being on top of the world.